Conspiracy and Twilight Language Deaths of 2023
by Loren Coleman
The "hail and farewell" obituaries at the end of a year are often a confusing mixture of multiple themes. For the twelve months of 2023, I gather here a few of the noteworthy passings of assassination authors, conspiracy journalists, cryptokubrology dots, and twilight language-linked folks we lost in 2023. From the latest, to the earliest...
Hugh Grant Aynesworth, born August 2, 1931 in Clarksburg, West Virginia (as was UFO writer Gary Barker), died December 23, 2023, in Dallas, Texas. Aynesworth was an American journalist, investigative reporter, author, and teacher.
In a 1976 Texas Monthly article, William Broyles, Jr. claimed Aynesworth as "one of the most respected authorities on the assassination of John F. Kennedy".
Certainly, Aynesworth was one of the luckiest reporters or experienced an incredibly high number of coincidences in his life in journalism. He said he
~ witnessed the assassination of John F. Kennedy in Dealey Plaza,
~ the capture and arrest of Lee Harvey Oswald at the Texas Theatre,
~ the shooting of Oswald by Jack Ruby in the basement of the Dallas Police Headquarters,
~ had "broken almost every major assassination story", and
~ worked openly with Clay Shaw's attorneys to defend Shaw against Jim Garrison.
He painted himself as a conservative, a skeptic, and an assassination conspiracist.
~ with Stephen Michaud, a former Business Week reporter, wrote two books on serial killer Ted Bundy,
~ with Jim Henderson, also of the Dallas Times Herald, did investigative reporting of self-proclaimed mass murderer Henry Lee Lucas, and
~ covered the siege of the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, referring to it as "[t]he Branch Davidian massacre".
Aynesworth was seen to have been his own greatest promoter. Aynesworth was reported to have "interviewed John F. Kennedy in the shower [and] Lyndon B. Johnson in bed". According to one report: "He also tracked down the person who stole "most of" eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes' money, chased James Earl Ray all over the South and into Canada after he shot the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr." According to Aynesworth, he was asked to serve as a pallbearer for Jack Ruby and played basketball with Fidel Castro. He said that he was playing outside of Havana: "And all of a sudden, this Jeep drives up and a bearded gentleman gets out and puts on his tennis shoes and joins us. I'd been having trouble getting an interview, and after that, it came a little easier. I told him that I would let him win."
Aynesworth co-authored seven books with Stephen G. Michaud. His 2003 book JFK: Breaking the News is "a companion piece to a documentary on the 40th anniversary of the event."